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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya sends best athletes to World
Indoor Championships in Birmingham

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan seven-member squad will be hopeful to leave a lasting mark in Birmingham City when the best athletes converge for the four day World Indoor Championships from March 1-4.

Organizers of the biannual event have confirmed the city of Birmingham will be the focal point as from Thursday when 618 athletes from 145 teams converge for this year’s World Indoor Championships.

With Kenya fronting former World Indoor 3,000m champion Helen Obiri to anchor the team, head coach William Tanui remained optimistic the country will weather the storm and post better performance to eclipse the two bronze medals won in Portland, USA in the 2016 edition.

“The team is strong and focused. They have had their experiences running in indoor championships in Europe and USA. Some won their tickets through wild card by IAAF because they dominated the World Indoor Tour circuit,” he said on Friday from Eldoret.

The IAAF has confirmed that with 618 athletes from 145 countries having been entered for the World Indoor Championships, starting one week today in Birmingham, it will be the biggest congregation of elite runners for the four day championships.

Portland, USA two years ago had at this stage before the event 547 athletes from 148 countries and regions.

One race that Birmingham athletics fans enjoy most is the women’s 3000m, which has become a momentous one for Ethiopia. Never before had the East African country managed to take a medal in an event they were to come to dominate. Of the eight finals contested from 2003 to date, seven have been won by Ethiopians.

Berhane Adere, Meseret Defar have since become the most successful 3,000m runner in the history of the World Indoor Championships.

Defar won four successive golds, turning the tables on Adere in Budapest in 2004, then retaining her crown in Moscow in 2006, Valencia in 2008 and Doha in 2010.

In Istanbul in 2012 she took silver behind Kenya’s Hellen Obiri and in Portland in 2016 she was runner-up behind defending champion and compatriot Genzebe Dibaba.

Now Obiri and Dibaba will be facing off again in Birmingham and the fastest legs will carry the day.

Kenya has named Obiri together with Beatrice Chepkoech and Margaret Nyairera in 800m. Ethiopia will see Dibaba double up in 1,500m and 3,000m.

           

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